In case you missed it earlier today, the Tampa Bay Lightning eked past the Columbus Blue Jackets in OT and are officially moving on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game One overtime hero Brayden Point was up to his old tricks again, bagging the series winner just five minutes into the first OT frame this time.
Check it out:
With this loss, the 2019-20 season officially comes to an end for the plucky Blue Jackets. And, you have to admit, they sure didn't go away quietly. Not many people expected the Blue Jackets to make noise this season after losing superstars Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene last offseason. In fact, most analysts predicted that the Blue Jackets would be bottom feeders in the NHL's Metropolitan Division. Instead the played steady, defensive first hockey under head coach John Tortorella, got fantastic goaltending from Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzilikins and even pulled off a Qualifying Round upset over the much celebrated Toronto Maple Leafs. Not bad. Not bad at al really.
But, don't try complimenting Tortorella today. The fiery veteran head coach simply wasn't in the mood for compliments or empty platitudes following his team's elimination loss. In fact, he cut his post-game media availability short by simply standing up and saying, “You know what guys? I’m not going to get into the touchy feely stuff and the moral victories and all that. You guys be safe."
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I mean... what else is there to say?
The Blue Jackets coughed up a late lead and weren't able to get the go-ahead goal in OT. That's the story of the game and there's no much more than Torts can add. Frankly, I can't imagine sitting up there and taking ridiculous questions from reporters when your heart was just ripped out of your chest minutes earlier. The season is over for Torts and the Blue Jackets and it sucks. Having to sit there and answer for it sucks even more. Kudos to him for just saying, "You know what? Nah..."
Now having said that, there are some unanswered questions facing the Jackets this offseason. Who is this team's starter moving forward? Korpisalo or Merzlikins? What kind of contract is Pierre-Luc Dubois going to get this offseason? Time will tell.